In which an average Fan-On-A-Couch becomes a Chiefs Scout through the Power of YouTube.
There are some really fine iso videos on YouTube which show the plays, not highlights but all the plays, of prominent college draft prospects with no annoying voice overs, advertisements, rap music, heavy metal music, elevator music, or any add-ins whatsoever besides an unobtrusive shadow box around the player in question. I am going to watch some of the videos that box Marqise Lee and record my random thoughts about them on the internet, just because.
All right, introduction over. Now for the disclaimer - I have very little experience in formally evaluating wide receivers. Therefor, I will (probably) not be using technical terms such as "adjusting his frame," "highpoint," or "buttonhook." Instead, I will most likely use terms such as "what was that," "whoa," and "suck." Also, I do not have a regimented evaluation scale like Kalo uses for his defensive grades. So instead of numerical or letter grades, I will use descriptive grades such as "awesome," "meh," and "suck." So, if you continue reading, you will probably see evaluations such as, "What was that? Awesome!" or, "I give that suck a grade of Suck."
Enough foreplay, on to the 'tubing!
-First random thought - It's really hard to type a Q without typing a U after it. For someone who has to do it every time they write their own name, it might result in some pent up rage. +1 pent up rage.
-First play, Lee gets doubled high-low on a square-in (Technical term? Yeah. Proper use of? Probably not). Ball goes to another receiver and is dropped. Lee drew a LB who looks like a pass rushing type away from the LoS, which is good.
-2nd play, Lee gets single coverage on the outside, QB scrambles, Lee comes back to the ball and makes a target of himself. Does well to box out an obviously-bigger DB and taps his toes while being shoved out of bounds. Slams the ball on the ground. Yup, pent up rage.
-Does Stanford have good DBs in 2013? Don't know. Do I care enough to look it up right now? Eh, on with the tubing.
-That last play, Lee got behind the DB to the end zone, but the QB couldn't find him because he disappeared behind the bigger DB. Size will be an issue in some cases. On the other hand, he saw his QB in trouble and managed to run a circle around the DB and box him out.
-Kickioff return! Hmmmm meh.
-Looks like Lee is lining up as far back off the line as he can. Maybe just against Stanford's big DBs?
-Damn good quickness after the catch. Stanford defenders look like lumbering nerds.
-Now Lee is right on the line. Must have just been a certain formation, earlier. But the DB is playing off.
-Whoa. Lee makes a TD catch right on the sideline while running full speed out of bounds. I thought I saw him slow down halfway through his route, maybe giving up when he drew a double team. But like before, he watched the QB and made himself available late.
-On the replay, Lee was WIDE open when the ball got there. Only real defender was the sideline. Must have really separated from the DB after his break. Pro-style two-toe tap. And again with the aggressive attitude after the catch.
-Lee runs a lone route on the far side, ball goes to the RB, Lee comes back and throws a block for him.
-Kickoff return! Meh.
-Ooo, press coverage... Not really, DB just puts out a token hand and bails. Wrong choice, slant was called, Lee gets an easy catch and darts upfield. Dude has some acceleration. Four guys surround him, all bigger than Lee, try to take the ball away, fail, pile goes to the ground, and Lee is the first one to stand back up. Angry.
-Kickoff return. Looks tentative. Thought so the first two times, much more obvious this time.
-Lee is the blocker on a Denver Pick. God I hope the Broncos don't draft him.
-Lee drops a pass on purpose behind the LoS to avoid a loss. Smart.
-Man, don't know if Stanford #15 is just slow, but he was eating some serious dust after Lee cut away from him. Would like to see Lee faster in the first part of his route, but he accelerates HARD out of the cut.
-4:45, Lee ran a three-cut route right through the D and was open deep, might have had a TD if QB hadn't gone short.
-Doesn't look practiced at blocking, but definitely not afraid to try.
-Well, he's got enough speed to beat Stanford #21 on a post, for whatever that's worth.
-Limping a little, slow to his spot in formation, patters his feet, friggin explodes off the line and makes the 4th down catch through a DB that was tackling him when the ball was thrown. Limps a LOT after the play. Competitor.
-From a one game + one play sample size, seems like USC puts Lee in motion a lot.
-This doesn't look real interesting. Lots of behind/near LoS stuff.
-Reverse. Lee has NFL speed, Syracuse players do not.
-Slant for a TD. Never really covered. Must smother memories of TY Hilton doing this.
-Fumble! DB slapped the ball while Lee was juking him.
-The fumble was on a quick-pass. Now Lee motions from the line into the backfield so that he can catch a flare and run twenty yards in order to gain two. Is this why Kiffin was hated?
-Serious separation on a deep come-back against single coverage.
-Definitely a willing blocker. Body language is pretty easy to read - doesn't like the play calls, bored competing against Syracuse, or both.
-Don't really like the looks of his kick-off returns. May be totally wrong about it, but ball security looks lazy.
-Have yet to see Lee stand around and watch a play happen. Looks like if he can get involved, he will.
-This offense against 'Cuse is not showing much use for WR. Lee looks like Dexter in a Todd Haley offense.
-Lee catches a fade TD against a DB who had no business covering him. Ho hum. Interesting that Lee beat him with physicality instead of quickness, though.
-4:45 Lee comes all the way from the sideline to block for a run up the middle, and actually makes a difference. Actually blocks two guys.
-Yeah, Lee just outclassed that whole Syracuse team. Glad that's over.
-5:30 Lee blocks for a running play, and looks like he's the last one to stop blocking. Great effort.
-Another come-back. Haven't seen Lee fail on one of those yet.
-Two plays - Lee sets up in the middle of the open zone and right on the first down marker, and then catches a batted ball behind the LoS. Good awareness.
-6:34 Ooo, INT off the hands! Lee set up a little too far inside, ball was thrown a little too far outside.
-7:05 Finally see a deep catch. DB gave a 7-yard cushion, Lee at it up in 2 seconds and blew past. Nice tracking over the shoulder, but I'd like to see better hands there.
-Quick-pass again. Looks to me like Lee has a tendency to tip the plays.
-7:50 Lee tries to run through a tackler instead of around him. I like it. Already knew he wasn't shy of contact.
-8:35 Another deep sideline catch. Over the shoulder. Right after I criticized his hands. Six yard cushion gone in 3 seconds. Ball is out in 3 seconds. Lee extends an arm to create separation while the ball is in the air. It works, and will work in the NFL, too.
-Replay of that last one... Man, Lee just shoots away from the DB as soon as he gets around him, even with the DB pulling on his belt. Ball dropped over his shoulder very close to his body, but it looked like an all-hands no-bobble catch that time. One-for-two.
-Holy Jeebus the dude's fast when he gets into the open.
-Looks like Lee does catch the ball with his hands, but has a habit of catching it very close to his body instead of reaching out for it.
-And as soon as I say that, Lee catches a deep post with his chest pads while jumping.
-And as soon as I say THAT, Lee snatches a tipped ball while en pointe at the sideline. I'm just so confused!
-The guy ran right toward the DB, and then was suddenly three yards away from him. I saw the whole thing, in slow motion, and I still don't know how it happened.
-That last play, Lee snatched the ball out of the air without breaking stride.
-Seven yard cushion, DB's scared, slant, Lee can't be caught. But he did catch the ball in his chest while jumping.
-12:13 That's some serious shake n bake, that goes unrewarded.
-Lee has a lot of running ability, but only good-not-great instincts. Could have cut that reverse back inside and got the first down.
-Then again, that's a good return at 13:10. Toub could do something with him. Looks like he'd be better for kickoffs than punts, though.
-13:27 Another play where Lee finishes his route and then comes back to the QB to make a play. Jumping hands catch.
-Does a good job protecting the slant from bigger defenders. Maybe that's where he gets the body-catch habit, which seems to only happen when he feels a defender behind him.
-Sixteen catches for 345 yards (!!!) according to the announcer. Last Hail Mary goes off his fingertips. Competitor.
-15:08 First play vs UCLA, lined up in the backfield. sigh
-Aaaand the first pass goes to him, and is picked off. Thrown behind him. Can't tell for sure, but it looked like he ran a proper route.
-Second UCLA play, first time I've seen a jam attempted. Lee doesn't get past it, but carries the jam downfield and draws a flag. Good nuff.
-Second fumble I've seen. Knocked out with his knee one inch off the ground. He should not be used as a RB.
-16:45 One of those easy, open catches that Bowe loses concentration on. Haven't seen Lee drop one yet. Catches it close to his body, but looks like a hands catch.
-Next play, Lee motions to the backfield and is used as a fullback. smh. He makes the block, but smh.
-17:38 Fade to the corner, Lee is pushed out but draws a flag. For a smaller guy, dude is scary on the sidelines, always knows where his feet are and goes after the ball.
-18:45 Fades the out pattern up the field a bit. Nice catch at the sideline, but might not get away with that in the NFL.
-It's just too easy for Lee to get open at this level. Can't tell if it's the level of competition, or he's just that good, but it has probably made him a little lazy in route running.
-20:10 College referees call illegal block downfield on a pass play. Are you paying attention, NFL? Of course you are, you just don't care.
-21:04 And once again Lee bails out his QB on a scramble. This time running down the field to get open instead of coming back toward the QB. Looks to me like there's one guy the USC QB looks for when he's in trouble.
-Next play, slant toward the endzone, no chance for the D. Hands catch over the head without jumping or breaking stride.
-22:02 If he fades his outs, he sure does run a crisp slant.
-First play vs ND, lined up as a blocking TE. smh
-22:33 First play I've seen that I'd count as a drop. Streak up the seam, looked like Lee lost the ball in the lights.
-Another long route, this time draws a flag.
-I notice that every DB looks bigger than Lee. Lee doesn't seem to notice.
-Quick slant, makes the catch AND draws the flag. Lee's good at that route.
-Man, this USC QB, Wittek? Man.
-27:15 Body catch. In traffic. I definitely see a pattern with that.
-28:18 Deep route, catch while being tackled. Starts on the inside, runs outside in a wheel route, then shifts back to the inside to wall off the bigger DB from the pass. Caught on the hands with the defender on his back, even though HE was on the defender's back just four strides before. Out. Standing.
-Next play, QB throws a sort of back-shoulder fade. Lee fights through the bigger DB and draws the flag.
-Next play, standard fade, another flag. lulz
Well, that's it then. So, what do I think of Lee? I think I wasted my time. Because there's no way in HELL that the NFL should let this guy drop to pick #23. I don't care if he IS smaller than Johnny Football, this guy can play the game.
Through five games, I counted two drops, one where it looked like he lost the ball in the lights during the night game at Notre Dame, and the other where the ball was off-target and he had to reach.
Through five games, I don't think I saw Lee go against a DB who was smaller than he is. And yet he seemed to go pretty much where ever he wanted to go. DBs did try to get physical with him, it just didn't seem to work much. Lee did push off a few times, but not often. He just seemed able to get open at will, through a combination of speed, quickness, skill, and strength.
When Lee wasn't open, he would wall off the DB from the ball, even though the DB was always bigger than he is. I still can't quite figure out how he did that, even though I just watched it happen.
He is not big enough to be a jump ball guy. But he should still be a red-zone threat because of his ability to play on the sideline. He is also obviously a deep threat. And he has the quickness, skill, willingness to block, and fortitude to play out of the slot.
The guy seems to be as football-smart as anybody. Seems very involved and aware of the game situations. Always willing to block, never saw him stop on a play. Competitive as all hell. From his behavior on the field, he seems like he'd be a great team mate.
The bad parts - I think that Lee's physical advantage over his competition in college has probably formed some bad habits. I think he's used to getting huge separation off his break, and that causes him to be lazy in some routes. I also think that all the inside routes and short routes that he ran have given him the habit of letting the ball into his body, so he can put it away faster in traffic, although that didn't seem to hurt his performance in these five games. I can't say that I noticed him body-catching a ball except when there was a defender near him. I think that the emotion and involvement with which he plays sometimes leads him to tip the play.
Back to the good parts - I think that any wide receiver coach would be ecstatic to have the opportunity to coach Lee. To me, he displays every basic skill and ability that you could want from any wide receiver, except height. I think that he would be fantastic in an Andy Reid offense. If he is available at pick 23, John Dorsey should NOT immediately run to the podium - John Dorsey should say Hail Marys and Our Fathers for nine-and-a-half minutes to give thanks for the miracle, and THEN run to the podium.
So anyway, I like this guy. I'd be totally cool with him in a Chiefs uni. We can always find a pass rusher in the sixth round, right Dr. Mills?